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The endless knot or eternal knot (Sanskrit: śrīvatsa; simplified Chinese: 盘长结; traditional Chinese: 盤長結; pinyin: pánzhǎng jié; Tibetan དཔལ་བེའུ། dpal be'u; Mongolian Түмэн өлзий) is a symbolic knot and one of the Eight Auspicious Symbols. It is an important symbol in both Jainism and Buddhism. It is an important cultural marker in places significantly influenced by Tibetan Buddhism such as Tibet, Mongolia, Tuva, Kalmykia, and Buryatia. It is also found in Celtic and Chinese symbolism.
In Jainism it is one of the eight auspicious items, an asthamangala, however found only in the Svetambara sect. It is often found marking the chests of the 24 Saints, the tirthankaras. It is more commonly referred to as the Shrivatsa.
Various interpretations of the symbol are:
- The endless knot iconography symbolised Samsara i.e., the endless cycle of suffering or birth, death and rebirth within Tibetan Buddhism.
- The inter-twining of wisdom and compassion.
- Interplay and interaction of the opposing forces in the dualistic world of manifestation, leading to their union, and ultimately to harmony in the universe.
- The mutual dependence of religious doctrine and secular affairs.
- The union of wisdom and method.
- The inseparability of emptiness (shunyata) and dependent origination, the underlying reality of existence.
- Symbolic of knot symbolism in linking ancestors and omnipresence (refer etymology of Tantra, Yoga and religion) (see Namkha.)
- Since the knot has no beginning or end it also symbolizes the wisdom of the Buddha.
In other cultures
- Ashtamangala (also known as Eight Auspicious Symbols)
- Celtic knot
- Chinese knotting
- Eternal return
- Gordian knot
- Indra's net
- Islamic interlace patterns
- Khachkars – Armenian knotwork
- Knot garden
- Knot theory
- Möbius strip
- Oseberg style
- Solomon's knot
- Three hares
- Trefoil knot
- Turk's head knot
- Yin and yang
Notes and references
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